Project EMPOWER

firefoxEMPOWER is a new poverty reduction initiative launched by PATH Foundation Philippines Inc. (PFPI) in partnership with the ASHMORE Foundation. The project focuses primarily on the plight of young (15-24 yr) adults in impoverished coastal communities whose livelihoods depends on fisheries resources, which are in rapid decline due to over fishing and environmental degradation. EMPOWER builds upon the lessons and best practices of the IPOPCORM Initiative whose operations research documented positive impacts on poverty reduction, human health and ecosystem resilience in rural areas where integrated population and coastal resource management strategies were implemented in conjunction with income diversification strategies for fisher folks (Environmental Conservation).

EMPOWER targets youth in high-growth marine hotspots with inputs designed to build their capacity to plan and implement integrated approaches to population, health and environment (PHE) that promote self-help, improve quality of life and enhance the sustainability of coastal/marine resources. Priority hotspots include the Danajon Double Barrier Reef (Bohol) and the Verde Island Passage Marine Biodiversity Conservation Corridor (Oriental Mindoro). Available information indicate these areas have above-average rates of population momentum ("youth bulge") and unmet need for family planning and reproductive health (RH) services which portents increasing population growth and anthropogenic stress on dwindling natural resources for decades to come. In an effort to remediate these trends, EMPOWER will engage youth in the design and implementation of community-based and integrated family planning and coastal conservation activities. PFPI will also target the same youth population with inputs that will enable them to reduce dependency on fishing and pursue more diversified livelihood options that are viable, sustainable and environment-friendly.

Changes the Project Hopes to Achieve

EMPOWER will increase public awareness of the interrelationships among population-health-environment (PHE) dynamics in coastal Philippines and their implications for food security and sustainable livelihoods- particularly among members of youth groups, Peoples Organizations (PO) and other civil society organizations operating in the target marine hotspots. This change will serve as the catalyst for the mobilization and engagement of young people and civil society groups in self-help efforts that work across PHE domains and can improve human and ecosystem health outcomes and promote livelihood diversification and environment-friendly economic development (EED). The project will also transfer PHE planning and implementation know-how to members of youth groups and POs that will enable them to spearhead community-based family planning, coastal conservation and EED activities in their area and to influence development planning processes in their barangays, which in turn, will enable the village to tap into municipal government funds to sustain the PHE activities initiated under the project.

Intermediate Results and Indicators to Measure Success

EMPOWER will work towards achieving the following Intermediate Results during 2011/2012:

  1. Improved awareness of PHE issues and capacity of local institutions and communities to plan and implement integrated approaches to PHE for improved quality of life, human health and sustainability of coastal/marine resources.
  2. Intermediate Result (IR) Indicator(s):

    • Number of local institutions with capacity to advocate, plan, implement and monitor integrated PHE approaches and programs
    • Number of Youth Peer Educators (YPEs) trained and active in volunteer PHE work in target areas

  3. Improved RH outcomes among young people living in rural coastal areas.
  4. Intermediate Result (IR) Indicator(s):

    • Proportion of sexually active respondents aged 15-24 yrs reporting current use of any contraceptive method during most recent Behavioral Monitoring Survey (BMS) round

  5. Reduced vulnerability to poverty and food insecurity in rural coastal communities, particularly among young adults.
  6. Intermediate Result (IR) Indicator(s):

    • Number of young adults (18-24 yrs) initiating Environmentally-friendly Economic Development (EED) ventures
    • Proportion of respondents aged 15-24 yrs reporting income above poverty level during most recent BMS round
    • Proportion of BMS respondents aged 15-24 yrs who agree with the opinion statement "Sometimes there is not enough food to go around and the family goes hungry."

For more information about the EMPOWER project, please contact us at telephone number +632 8175049 or email us at info@pfpi.org.